As more of us work from home and our kids learn online, Code Club has been finding a way to make sure kids don’t miss out on valuable digital skills.

Code Club Australia, a program run by the Telstra Foundation, has been offering Virtual Code Clubs to Telstra parents stuck in isolation in Victoria as well as existing Code Clubs.

Telstra’s own developer advocate Michelle Howie participated as a guest speaker with a club in Tasmania. In her role as the developer advocate for TelstraDev – Telstra’s API and IoT Marketplace – Michelle is an expert on the Internet of Things (IoT) and taught the kids all about how they can participate in the global Internet of Things revolution in their everyday life – and gain some valuable skills and lessons along the way.

Nicola from Code Club Australia talked to Michelle about her experience.

Nicola: Thanks Michelle for guest-hosting our Virtual Code Club this week – I saw some really excited faces when you told them how many IoT devices there are!

Michelle: I was just as surprised the first time I found out that there are more IoT devices than people in the world! I started off by explaining some IoT devices they may see around their home, in their community, or on the TV! It was great to then show them how they could code with their own virtual IoT device from their desk. It proved that they already had the skills but also the access to technology. Nicola: What did you make with them?

Michelle: Using Code Club’s easy lesson plans we spent an hour virtually coding an IoT emulator that could display predicted weather conditions. The kids learnt about how computers see RGB colours, IoT emulators, and the science of rainbows, all while using Python! We used one of the Code Club lessons that uses a Raspberry Pi and a SenseHAT. The lesson was completely run on an in-browser emulator, so the kids didn’t have to buy any hardware and could jump in and have a go!

Nicola: How do you think IoT is relevant to kids stuck at home?

Michelle: The Internet of Things is a key technology of the 21st century that will increasingly affect every industry, in all aspects of our lives. From Agriculture to Education to Entertainment and Medicine, but also in AFL stats we see valuable data insights from IoT! Students of today are our future leaders, and so it’s important that they are able to understand, engage, and even build their own solutions to their world’s biggest challenges. You don’t need to be an engineer to have this critical coding and problem-solving skills, and I think it’s a great opportunity for kids to get started at home with self-guided projects like this. It builds confidence and creativity with technology in a fun, educational way!

Nicola: And did you have fun?

Michelle: For sure! I wish I had Code Club when I was at school – I’ll definitely do this again.

Code Club Australia and the Telstra Foundation are committed to providing digital skills to kids across Australia. We believe you don’t need a lot of experience to teach coding and that everyone should be able to access the skills of the future. Join our community at the Code Club website. You can watch this recording and find out about other IOT kids projects at Code Club’s blog post.

TelstraDev is Telstra’s API and IoT marketplace. They are committed to getting the raw tools for creating IoT solutions directly into the hands of the developers that will innovate with them.

You can find out more on the TelstraDev website. Follow their blogs and Twitter for the latest IoT and API developer updates for all ages and experiences!